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Washington, D.C. Epiglottitis Medical Malpractice Attorney

A specialist doctor diagnoses a girl s sore throat by palpating for the presence of inflammation and swelling, sore throat and tonsillitis of the throat

Epiglottitis is an uncommon but potentially fatal condition that makes breathing and swallowing difficult or impossible. People who contract epiglottitis can recover with prompt, accurate medical care. But sometimes, a medical professional meant to treat the condition may fail to take appropriate action based on accepted standards of care. When that happens, epiglottitis can worsen, interfering with oxygen flow to your brain and other organs.

You may have the legal right to pursue compensation if you suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to medical negligence for epiglottitis. Establishing medical malpractice is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of medical and legal issues.

At the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates, our firm’s founder, Michael M. Wilson, is both an attorney and licensed physician. His background and training can be a tremendous advantage should you seek compensation from those responsible for your injuries and losses.

A Washington, D.C. epiglottitis medical malpractice attorney can protect your rights and help you seek justice and money from a negligent provider. Contact the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates today for a free consultation.

What Is Epiglottitis?

Epiglottitis is inflammation and enlargement of the epiglottis. The epiglottis is a thin cartilage flap located near the back of the tongue. Its primary function is to prevent food and liquids from entering the windpipe during swallowing.

The term “acute epiglottitis” describes the rapid and severe onset of symptoms, resulting in breathing and swallowing difficulties. Epiglottitis can occur in people of all ages and gender, although it is more common in those assigned males at birth.

What Causes Epiglottitis?

Epiglottitis is usually caused by Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) bacteria. When this bacteria is the cause, the condition is called acute bacterial epiglottitis. In addition to epiglottitis, this condition can lead to pneumonia and meningitis.

There are other possible causes of epiglottitis, including:

  • Bacterial infections from sources other than Hib, like streptococcus pneumonia
  • Fungal infections, especially in individuals with a weakened immune system
  • Viral infections from herpes simplex virus, the cause of cold sores, or varicella-zoster virus, the cause of chickenpox
  • Throat injuries resulting from physical trauma or scalding liquids
  • Smoking
  • Chemical burns
  • Side effects of another illness or chemotherapy

Epiglottitis that results from a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection can spread from person to person through droplets of saliva or mucus. Infected individuals are contagious and should avoid contact with others.

What Are the Symptoms of Epiglottitis?

Epiglottitis symptoms may appear without warning and quickly worsen. Treat any signs of epiglottitis as a medical emergency. Healthcare professionals often condense the most common symptoms into “the four Ds:”

  • Distress – Difficulty breathing, a primary symptom in children
  • Drooling – Saliva flows out of the mouth involuntarily, a main symptom in older children and adults
  • Dysphagia – Difficulty swallowing
  • Dysphonia – Hoarseness or muffled voice

Other symptoms of epiglottitis include a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, severe throat pain, and irritability or restlessness.

How Is Epiglottitis Treated?

Regardless of what caused epiglottitis, it is a medical emergency. Emergency treatment procedures for epiglottitis include:

  • Restore airways to full capacity – A medical professional places an oxygen mask over a patient’s mouth and nose to ensure oxygen reaches the lungs. If the air passages are blocked, they place a tube down the throat. In severe cases, a patient may require a tracheostomy or a small incision in the throat.
  • Administer fluids – Patients receive fluid and medication, such as antibiotics, through an intravenous (IV) drip.
  • Calm the patient – Medical personnel will help calm the affected person and make them as comfortable as possible.

Can There Be Complications If It Is Not Treated Properly?

Infections causing epiglottitis need immediate treatment to avoid total airway blockage, leading to severe brain damage or death. The infection can also cause other serious infections in the body, such as sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis.

How Can Epiglottitis Malpractice Happen?

Unfortunately, sometimes doctors miss or wrongly attribute symptoms of epiglottitis to other illnesses. This can result in a delay in treatment that could be fatal. Some common mistakes that can lead to medical malpractice claims for epiglottitis are:

  • Not checking for infection with a throat culture
  • Not ordering blood tests to check for high white blood cell count
  • Not taking a thorough medical history
  • Not ordering or correctly understanding X-rays of the epiglottis and airway
  • Not promptly prescribing antibiotics to fight the infection

Can I Seek Damages for Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional or facility provides substandard care, resulting in harm or injury to a patient. If you believe you have experienced medical malpractice, it is possible to seek compensation, including money for:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Long-term, skilled nursing care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages if you’re unable to work
  • Disability or disfigurement

To determine whether you have a valid claim, consult with a Washington, D.C. epiglottitis medical malpractice attorney.

two doctors worried that they have committed malpractice

Does Washington, D.C. Place Caps on Medical Malpractice Damages?

Washington, D.C. does not set limits on medical malpractice damages. Victims may seek maximum compensation for their physical, emotional, and financial damages.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Washington, D.C.?

Generally, you have three years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Washington, D.C. The clock begins from the date of injury. If you fail to initiate legal action within this time limit, you lose your right to seek compensation through the court system in most cases.

Contact a Washington, D.C. Epiglottitis Malpractice Attorney

Epiglottitis is a terrifying and potentially fatal medical condition. If a medical provider deviated from accepted standards of care and caused you further injuries, you could demand compensation. A Washington, D.C. epiglottitis malpractice attorney can protect your rights.

The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates has the resources, knowledge, and dedication to pursue money from all liable parties. Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation.

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